Review: Tales From The Borderlands: Episode 1 Zer0 Sum (PS4)

Title: Tales From The Borderlands: Episode 1 Zer0 Sum
Format: PlayStation Network Download (872 MB)
Release Date: November 25, 2014
Publisher: Telltale Games in partnership with Gearbox Software and 2K
Developer: Telltale Games
Original MSRP: $4.99 (Single Episode) / $19.99 (Season Pass)
ESRB Rating: M
Tales From The Borderlands: A Telltale Games Series is also available on PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Golden Minecart Award Winner 2016
– Best Action/Adventure Game (PS3)
Telltale Games kicks off their Borderlands series with possibly their best work to date. Tales From The Borderlands: Episode 1 Zer0 Sum introduces us to a version of Borderlands we have not seen; one where story drives the game, not gameplay. Instead of high-intensity gunfights or the ever-enticing possibility of a better look, we are given a strong story that pulls us along and is great from beginning to end. For the first time ever in the Borderlands universe I actually cared and found the characters enjoyable.

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Gameplay:
Tales from the Borderlands has you taking control of two very different characters; Rhys, employee of the hated Hyperion company, and Fiona, a native of Pandora. The story of Zer0 Sum revolves around our two characters and their first encounter during a botched meeting with other Pandora citizens. The story jumps from Rhys to Fiona as each tell their own version of the events that transpired through their initial meeting, bringing with that some fantastic moments and humor.

With Telltale using two characters giving their own version of the same story it provides many fantastic, humorous moments and also gives a better understanding of each character themselves. As it progresses you’ll finally wrap your head around the story and realize just how insanely complex it truly is and how impressive it is that Telltale was able to pull it off while making it understandable, let alone hysterical. One of my favorite moments, without giving away too much, was with a particular guard that didn’t really do his job at all – it completely took me by surprise at how that moment was crafted and I absolutely loved every second of it.

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While the story revolves basically around our two protagonists we are graced with multiple fantastic side characters. Each one is just as fleshed out and exciting to watch as Rhys of Fiona providing an even stronger pull to have you engrossed in the story.

Visuals:
It seems as though that Telltale was always meant to create a game in the Borderlands world, as Tales from the Borderlands looks dead-on how the main series looks – which is to say it also has the same look as The Walking Dead series. This almost perfect recreation of the actual look of the series gives this Tales even more power.

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Sadly though, there are still the issues that seem to plague all of Telltale’s games: slow frame rate, major pop-in, and bugs. To continually see these same issues with an engine they have been using for quite some time is very disappointing but it doesn’t really take too much enjoyment away from the game.

Audio:
Strong characters in a story driven game are a product of their voice actors – with weak performances it doesn’t matter how good a story is. Yet there isn’t anything to worry about here as Telltale picked perfect people to play their characters, providing basically perfect voices and emotion to the characters. Each character comes to life with their spot-on voice.

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Online/Multiplayer:
Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 1 Zer0 Sum has no online competitive/co-operative mode. At the end of the game you can see what choices you picked and the percentage of players who picked that same option, just as previous Telltale games have.

Conclusion:
Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 1 Zer0 Sum is a fantastic voyage through a new kind of Borderlands story. Boasting a very impressively deep and strong story, fantastic characters, and the series’ well-known humor Telltale Games has created a fantastic starting point for their new series.

Score:
9.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Kyle Jessee

Kyle Jessee

Your lone Kentucky writer on staff. Loves the Big Blue Nation, rock music, and Resistance 2 (the best in the series).

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